We’ve all seen how tech can increase productivity, but when it comes to real estate, efficiency can only take a broker so far. The right tech may streamline operations or instill confidence in prospective clients, but industry veterans know that the key to closing deals is still the human touch.
Although many shoppers start their searches on Zillow, they don’t necessarily buy through Zillow Premier Agents. Most shoppers prefer to work with an agent with whom they already have a relationship. It is especially true for high-end buyers. The luxury market demands a level of trust and service that can only be provided by a broker with experience in the space or with whom the buyer is already familiar.
We Want Tech and the Human Touch
According to Owners.com, 36% of new homeowners wished their agents had leveraged technology to track appointments, schedule online viewings, or communicate via mobile app. Of the buyers surveyed, 83% still used an agent. So, buyers are not ditching real estate professionals for apps; they want to combine the two.
In our conversations with independent brokers, we’ve learned that some experts in the real estate field are searching for ways to integrate technology to improve the client experience. We recently spoke with the owners of two California brokerages, Jeff Cullen of Premier Agent Network and Andrew Nelson of Willis Allen Real Estate, both of whom were working on upgrading their tech, not for its own sake but to better serve their clients.
A recent RISMedia survey echoed the above sentiments. While 14% of brokers worried about keeping up with new technology, 62% felt that their competitive edge derived from their service to clients.
In our conversation, Cullen explained how Premier Agent Network was using technology to streamline the transaction process. “We are working,” he told us, “on developing an internal transaction management system.” By opting for an in-house solution over a third-party vendor, Premier can custom-tailor the process to suit clients.
Cullen did not believe that large companies have much of an impact, because “the salesperson is ultimately the one doing most of the work. Cullen was working on developing a better customer relationship management (CRM) tool. After years of using Excel, he remarked, “We’ve outgrown this spreadsheet as a CRM.”
Nelson of Willis Allen Real Estate was also on the lookout for a better CRM solution. He explained to us that he’d already tested demos on “everything from new startups to well-established and widely used CRMs.”
It’s Not the Product. It’s the Benefit.
In February 2019, we executed a residential real estate transaction in Daly City, CA, using only our blockchain platform. That the transaction was handled using cutting-edge technology may not be of interest to consumers, but the benefits of blockchain might.
Nelson explained, “Instead of the company telling you how useful the tool can be, we found that agent success stories or positive feedback [help] the most.” That’s in line with behavioral psychology, which says that positive reinforcement and modeling serve as inspiration and motivation. Who better to spread the word than brokers who’ve used blockchain to provide their clients with a faster, less expensive, and more secure experience?
Zillow democratized listings, but real estate still needs its agents. Consumers don’t want their agents replaced. They want them up-to-date.
Both brokers confirmed the importance of the human touch. It impacts the industry, the company, and the individual worker and client. In the end, success hangs or falls on that human touch.